How Our Customers Shaped our Evolution from a Clickwrap API to THE Contract Execution Platform

It's a pretty exciting week for our team at PactSafe as we officially launch some significant, and game changing, upgrades to our platform. Tech companies are always evolving, adding new features, and more, however the story behind this particular evolution in our platform and our business is one we feel needs to be shared. 

Our goal with the PactSafe platform started out as a simple - yet novel - idea empowering businesses to better manage and track their clickthrough legal agreements on websites and mobile apps. We built a first of its kind API to do just that, connected it to an easy to use dashboard, and POOF! the world's first clickthrough API was born. Customers big and small adopted the API, and soon it was tracking millions of online legal transactions per month; there was no suprise there because that's exactly what we built it for. That's when things started to get interesting:

1. Customers started using the API for more than just external facing clickthroughs. 
2. They started using it to streamline internal contract workflows.
3. Users asked for new features and API end-points, so they could consume the platform in sales, HR, legal.

Of course, we were ecstatic, and we built everything they asked for. We also took a step back and asked ourselves a very simple question:

What the f$&* have we actually built....because clearly it's more than just a clickthrough API.

That was not an easy question to answer. So we started talking to our customers to understand not just how they were using our platform, but why they were using it in this new way. Our customers used words like "fundamental change" and "seamless engagement". Nearly all of them talked about how contracts SUCK and if they could elminate them from their business, they would in a heartbeat. (side note: don't do that.) We also took a close look at the "why" behind the proliferation of clickthrough agreements EVERYWHERE.

Consider this scenario:

  • Because you have been living alone in a mountain cave for 10 years living off blind cave lizards, you don't have a Facebook account. When you emerge back to civlilzation, you decide to give Facebook a try.
  • You start signing up for Facebook, filling out a registration form, which you then, submit.  
  • After that, you get a pop-up that a representative from Facebook will be mailing you a copy of their Terms of Use, Acceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy. Once you sign that and send it back, you'll get access to Facebook!

Sounds ridiculous, right? The folks at Facebook likely agree, and know there is NO WAY they have billions of active members unless they give you what you want, immediately when you register. They are also smart enough to know that doing business with a billion people without contracts is...well...not smart. So, instead of going old-school on everyone, they simply drop a clickthrough agreement into the registration process and make the contract a seamless portion of the underlying, and much more important, business process.  

That was our lightbulb moment. Why not empower any business with the ability to contract with their customers when, where, and how they engage their customers, vendors, partners, and employees? Why not make contracting more fluid by embedding it into other primary business processes? Why limit contracting to paper + pen and squiggly line electronic signatures?

So that's when we evolved to be a the first and only contract execution platform. Engage your customers with a call center? Contract with them via SMS. Engage your customers online? Contract with them with a clickthrough. Engage via email? Contract via eSignature or click-to-accept. Now that's just the start of what our platform and API can do.  

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